Spark Student Motivation

How do you spark motivation in your classroom?  I've enjoyed reading all of the ideas on this cute linky:
You can find it at Joanne's Blog over at Head Over Heels for Teaching:
Head Over Heels for Teaching
I realize it's not Saturday....please forgive me.  It has been a crazy few weeks and I really don't even know what day it is.  Do you?

I've used so many different strategies over the years to try to motivate my students.  For years and years and years, I gave out tickets to students.  Who hasn't used tickets before?

Funny side story....I had a student, oh probably 8 years ago or so, whose mother was also a teacher (but not at my school).  The little stinker tried to pawn off some of his mother's tickets as mine.  Too bad she had bought her tickets from another store.  Busted!

Last year, I ran across a post (and sadly, I can't remember who wrote about it originally if you read this and it is YOU, please comment or email me so that I can give you credit) from Mel D {Seusstastic Classroom Inspirations} about using pom-pom balls as "warm fuzzies".  I thought that "warm fuzzies" would be a cuter way of using "tickets".  Who doesn't love cuter? When you are "caught doing something fantastic", or answer a question, or are complimented by an adult, etc., I throw a "warm fuzzy" at you.  Literally.

Pom poms fly would across my room like crazy.  Students would earn them throughout the week and trade them in for a big fuzzy (worth 5 points) to save for later, or they could spend their fuzzies on prizes.  Two fuzzies= a trip to the treat box.  Five fuzzies (or a large one worth five) = passes (homework, 5 extra credit points on a test, sit with a friend for lunch, etc.).  It worked beautifully. 

Then, as my teaching assignment changed to departmentalization, I thought that it would be too difficult to keep track of this with three classes.   How could I manage with more than one class? 

I didn't do it this year.  {Sad face}

But, you know what?  I missed it.  I missed the beaming faces of students who had a pom pom pelt them in the face.  Seriously.  Sheer joy, people. 

So, back in January, right after Christmas break, I brought the pom pom back.  Oh the joy!  Oh the fun!  It was like Christmas never ended.

The only issue is that instead of keeping the pom poms in desks (in a safe and clean environment), I have my students keep them in their pencil pouches since I have three classes who travel to me.  They get a little dingy. (The pom poms, not the kids.)

But, you know what?  Even a dingy pom pom ball can make a kid smile.

And it makes me smile, too.

What makes you smile?  I'd love to hear about your ideas.  Consider linking up with Joanne :)


  1. I am totally picturing a classroom with "warm fuzzies" flying and kids being hit in the face and smiling! It sounds fantastic.

    Do you keep the pom poms in a jar or do you always happen to wear outfits with big pockets : ).

    Looking From Third to Fourth

    1. That's a good question! I usually pick outfits for the pockets. Not kidding. I'm like, "oh pockets" some days. I do have a large bucket. I'll take a picture tomorrow and add it to this post :)

    2. Etsy sells really cute pouches you can wear if you are out of pockets.

  2. This sounds like a fun idea! I started using Class Dojo, but this would be fun to go with it somehow. Hmmm, sounds like a new idea to try out for next year! :)


  3. Hilarious! Sounds like something I'llbe implementing next year. I bet the kids love it!!
    ideas by jivey

  4. How fun!!! I love it! I'm sure they love it too!! What a fun teacher you are!! :O)

    Collaboration Cuties

  5. You're so cute Elizabeth! I agree, I can't imagine any student (or teacher for that matter) not wanting a fuzzie pom pom! Love it! Thanks for sharing and coming to my party! Can't wait to see what you throwing next Saturday!! :O)
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  6. I teach a 3rd/4th multi age room and we have been studying economics. As part of the lessons they have jobs and get paid. They also had to create a product that they will be on sale tomorrow. They have gotten so into the money that I have started handing out "tickets" if they break a rule. I asked them to create the "tickets." I paid the designers for their design. They really are into the whole earning and spending money. They are motivated and learning too!

  7. I have warm fuzzies in my class for a whole class incentive. They are hot glued onto clothes pins that move around a pizza plate. Warm fuzzies are awesome. Thinking next year of changing it to look like a mug of hot cocoa with white fuzzy marshmallows.

  8. I have students earn points for assignments on their homework. They can do 1 point, 2 point or 3 point homework each day. Then, on Thursday, they circle where they are on a rubric. I go over what I think their score should be (over 90% of the time they are right on), and they get to pick classroom jobs based on points earned. They love this! The harder you work, the better job you get.

    Also, I use a super improver's wall. Here is a picture of that:


    1. Great ideas everyone! Thanks for all of the wonderful comments :)

  9. My problem is I don't have a "store" for them to purchase things from! I just can't seem to keep up since becoming departmentalized. This year I have 4 classes each day. Next year I "might" be self contained with 6th grade so it might be doable. :)

    For now I'll just motivate them with my smile....

    I Run Read Teach

  10. aw, I love the warm fuzzies!!! What a sweet idea!! I can see where the kids would love them :)

    I'm not sure what day it is either, but that's due to being on break. I found out it was Wednesday, the halfway point. Now I"m upset! :/

  11. I am smiling at the visual I have in my head of you throwing a warm fuzzy at your kiddos ... what a FUN idea! We used red ones after reading Kate DiCamillo's Great Joy last winter ... red for caring ... and the students LOVED the challenge to pass it on when they saw an act of kindness or caring. It's SO hard for them to give them away ... but such a fun way to share Great Joy!

    I'm so glad you brought them back!


  12. This is from me :)